Looking toward the new financial year

FRSA’s June Board meeting has just concluded and I have to say, we are so fortunate to have such an engaged, active, knowledgeable and energetic Board. To be honest, the strength and calibre of Board Directors at FRSA has always been a strong asset for the organisation – and the current Board membership under the guidance of Teresa Jayet as Chair is no exception.

With the end of the financial year imminent, I am very pleased that we go into the 2024-2025 knowing that we have secured our core, peak funding from the Department of Social Services for a further two years – through until June 2026. This brings us into alignment with the grant periods for DSS Families and Children (FaC) Activity programs and the Attorney-General’s Department’s Family and Relationship Services Program (FRSP), the Family Law Services programs. With so many program types in these areas under review (or about to be reviewed) being able to continue to provide strong engagement with the Government and other stakeholders, to represent the views and voices of the FRSA members is of vital importance to our workplan over the next two years. Significant intensity and resource investment will need to be made over the next 12 months to influence the outcomes of these review processes.

I always say we don’t do this alone – and it is our members who give us support and strength in these endeavours.

FRSA will again be convening the Strategic Leadership Forum in Canberra, in a Parliamentary Sitting week – taking place on the 10th and 11th September. So, I ask you to SAVE THE DATE! With a Federal Election to be held by May next year – this is prime timing for engaging with relevant Ministers and other politicians at a point to shape the future of the Family and Relationship Services sector. We know the value of our services and early indications from review processes reinforce the importance of our programs to the children, families and communities of Australia. We now need to be working to secure ongoing investment into the future.

Jackie Brady and Liz Neville at the AIFS Conference Dinner

I am also delighted to let our readers know that FRSA has been successful in securing a further 12 months funding for the Communities of Practice Pilot program that we have been delivering for the last 2 years. Funded by the Department of Social Services through the Australian Institute of Family Studies, these Communities of Practice grow from strength to strength and we look forward to bringing you more regular news about their activities and learnings over the coming year. There was a presentation on this Pilot at the FRSA Conference – and you can find out more about it here or by contacting the Communities of Practice Project Officer – Lisa Curtis – here at the FRSA office.

Speaking about Conferences, I just wanted to extend my congratulations to Liz Neville, Acting Director at AIFS and her team on their amazing Conference at the beginning of the month. I know my team loved attending – as delegates and/or exhibitors – it is another great way to stay connected with the sector and with members and to hear about their work. I did manage to get along to the AIFS celebratory dinner where it was great to catch up with Dr Rae Kaspiew in her closing weeks with the Institute. We wish her well in her retirement and thank her for the legacy she leaves.

Here at FRSA, I am also sad to say that our Administrative Officer, Carol Reeve is leaving us as of today. She has been an incredibly valued member of our team, and we are sorry to see her go. We have been fortunate to attract Heidi Aynsley to this position and she has been working with Carol over the last two weeks to learn the ropes. If you call or contact the office – I am sure you will make Heidi welcome.

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